JERUSALEM – An Israeli-Canadian journalist has tracked down two of the iron nails used to crucify Jesus to the cross.
Filmmaker Simcha Jacobovici found the actual nails used to nail Jesus to the cross.
While researching a segment for the History Channel series “Secrets of Christianity,” Jacobovici learned something that startled him: In 1990, Israeli archeologists excavating a 2,000-year-old burial cave discovered two Jesus nails crafted by the Romans, but kept the discovery quiet.
They did publicize the discovery of two ossuaries — stone burial boxes filled with human bones — with the inscriptions “Caiaphas” and “Joseph son of Caiaphas.” The latter intricately carved ossuary toured the world and is now prominently displayed in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.
Two ancient nails were found in the tomb. Jacobivici’s conclusion: They must be the nails used to crucify Jesus. “Put it all together and what you have is conclusive proof,” he told WWN. “There are no other nails in the tomb.”
According to the Gospels, Caiaphas was the Jewish high priest who handed Jesus over to the Romans for crucifixion.
“There’s a general scholarly consensus that the tomb where the nails were found likely belonged to Caiaphas. Nails at that time were a dime a dozen, but finding one in a tomb is exceedingly rare,” Jacobovici said outside the high stone walls of the Old City, where Jesus spent his final days.
When Jacobovici originally found a brief reference to the nails in the official archeologists’ report, “my jaw dropped,” he said.
“It would be as if, 2,000 years from now, archaeologists uncovered the cave of Muhammad Ali but neglected to mention the pair of boxing gloves found there. Sure, boxing gloves are common, but perhaps those particular gloves had special significance to the boxer?”
The history detective searched the IAA’s vast warehouses and then tried to find the location of the long-sealed tomb, which now lies beneath a public park.
Finally, on a hunch, Jacobovici approached Israel Hershkovitz, a forensic anthropologist at Tel Aviv University, who is also expert on crucifixions.
“When I asked Hershkovitz if he’d received two nails about 20 years ago, he knew exactly what I was talking about and located them within minutes,” Jacobovici recalled.
Hershkovitz could not say where the nails had been found because the original packaging lacked the information. He could not be reached for comment.
The limestone residue on one of the nails clinched it for Jacobovici, “because one of the nails was found in the ossuary, the other on the ground” of the burial cave, where it would be exposed to limestone.
Jacobovici is certain his research will withstand scrutiny.
“Skepticism is good. As with the Shroud of Turin, you can’t be 100 percent certain, but believers don’t need 100 percent certainty. They need a solid ‘could be,’ and that’s what we’re offering.”